How do I stay connected to presence and people when I need to make decisions and take action from moment to moment?
This week is the South African elections, I am getting ready to go to London for a week and we are in the third short work week because of holidays and work has stacked up. At the same time, I need to fill the emotional tanks of my nearest and dearest ahead of the trip.
How do I remain calm and connected when there is all this craziness going on?
I review my notes for my presentation on Improvisational mindfulness for leaders I will be presenting at the Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium next week:
I read: “At the very core of both the interactive quality of improvisational practise and the idea of mindful action is the ‘yes and principle’. This principle captures the essence of AI and of mindfulness++. The ‘yes’ refers to the complete acceptance of whatever is present in the moment and whatever another person might offer. It mirrors the detachment and non-judgement of mindfulness practise as well as the sense of compassion with self and others. The ‘yes is only possible when one has entered into a non-distracted space of stillness and intunement through the body and its senses as well as the other bodies and subjects in the room. “
I snigger, how can I find this ‘non-distracted moment’? From where I am now the journey to such a place seems a thousand miles long. Then I remember an exrcise I once did where the facilitator asked us to close our eyes and repeat the word ‘no’ three times, staying aware of our physical and feeling responses to the word. She then asks us to switch to the word ‘yes’ and again note our responses. I close my eyes and repeat the exercise and … there I am not distracted and aware of everything and everyone in my immediate presence. But the moment is tenuous and fleeting… if I blink or breathe I fear it might evaporate.
I read on “One can identify in this ‘yes’ state the altered state of consciousness that is characteristic of mindful leadership practice. In the ‘yes’ we have therefore encapsulated all the characteristics of contemporary mindfulness. It is then in the ‘and’ that the embodied action part characteristic of improvisational mindfulness practise is captured. The ‘and’ refers to the action one might take in response to what has been offered and what one has already ‘yessed’ to. These actions as a direct flow from, and in direct response to, the other actors (or colleagues, or loved ones etc) become mindful in its being invested by everything that is encapsulated in the ‘yes’.
With the ‘yes’ still permeating my consciousness, I surrender my fear of this week and get ready to act.
Craziness, here I come!
Below is my abstract for the presentation.
If you want to know more, join me for an improvisational mindfulness session live online or in the flesh in Johannesburg on 31 May. Click here for details.
Or learn how to facilitate Applied Improvisation processes and sign up for the free online modules of the SNE course: Transformative facilitation for Orgnisations.
Improvisational mindfulness for leaders abstract:
The improvisational mindfulness session incorporates a methodology from the fields of applied drama and applied improvisation, strategic narrative embodiment (SNE). It demonstrates its value by focussing on two characteristics of leadership that cannot be addressed by conventional mindfulness practise alone: the inter-relational character of leadership and its inherent strategic, action oriented nature. The study highlights the necessity of a mindfulness practise that draws attention to these aspects of mindful leadership while retaining the value of traditional contemplative practise and presents applied improvisation, specifically in the form of the SNE model, as potential ally for addressing these needs.